Kuntres Beis Iyar, 5751: Why Concealment

[The discourse presented here was edited by the Rebbe and printed for Beis Iyar 5751 (1991), and with retrospect we can see how it is meant to guide us and strengthen us through the present time (even more so than when it was published), as will be explained, בע”ה.

The haftorah that is read when Shabbos falls out in Erev Rosh Chodesh (the day before the new month when the moon is completely concealed) begins with the verse: “Yehonosan said to him: tomorrow is [Rosh] Chodesh and you will be remembered (נפקדת) because your place will be vacant (כי יפקד מושבך).”

The words of this verse demand explanation: why are words from the same root — נפקדת and כי יפקוד — used for completely opposite concepts? “You will be remembered” is seemingly quite the opposite from “your place will be vacant”, which implies that he will be missing?!  To explain this, the Rebbe mentions several concepts which we will touch upon here only superficially (but the wise will investigate and find deeper things…).

Firstly, the Rebbe explains that the entire “drama” in this haftorah involving Shaul Hamelech, his son Yehonosan, and Dovid Hamelech are, on a deeper level, referring to the unification of the 6 higher sefiros and the 7th (in the language of kabbalah Z”A and Malchus (ז”א ומלכות) which are likened to husband and wife) .  Thus the word נפקדת also means the union which can bring forth children, relating to the union of husband and wife.  This unification of the sefiros takes place through the intellectual attribute of Bina, which is from a higher level.  This can be read as a hint to what the Rebbe describes as the “direct way” to bring the Geuloh in actuality: by learning (the power of Bina) the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh.

Further, the Rebbe explains how the name נתן (last three letters of Yehonosan) refer to Malchus on the level described as sea (ים, which conceals the sefiros), whereas Dovid is Malchus on the level described as dry land (ארץ, where things are revealed).  The verse “Yehonosan said to him [to Dovid]…” refers to transforming the sea to dry land (as occurred at the spitting of the sea).  Interesting to note that the gematria of the words in the verse of crossing the sea — ויבֹאו בני ישראל בתוך הים ביבשה — has the same value as the declaration יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד.  (Which was declared before the Rebbe for the first time on the Shabbos following the release of this maamor in 5751!)

All of the above is in connection with Erev Rosh Chodesh, when the moon is concealed. This reflects a state of complete self-nullification (bittul) which brings about the birth of the new moon on the following day: the unification of the sun and the moon (mashpia and mekabel).  How can the bittul of Erev Rosh Chodesh accomplish this amazing unification?  Because the bittul of the time when the moon is concealed draws down from the level of Kesser (כתר), the level which is entirely above the chain of worlds (סדר השתלשלות).

Look closely: a period of concealment which appears to be quite a negative phenomenon is actually a time when the highest levels are being drawn down!  This is in order to bring about the Divinely desired unification of mashpia and mekabel (Hashem and Yisroel, Rebbe and Chassidim) through the power of Bina (learning and understanding).  This learning and understanding brings about the internalization of the lofty levels that are drawn down at the time of concealment — an experience which is likened to the splitting of the sea, when the concealment itself is transformed to revelation (and the verse has the same gematria as the declaration of “Yechi Hamelech…”)  (Can we sense that the Rebbe is explaining for us what is happening b’pnimiyus as we live through the “Erev Rosh Chodesh” of the post Gimmel Tammuz era?)

Returning to the maamor, the verse starts with the words “And Yehonosan said” (the drawing down of the lofty lights of Atzilus) and them is followed by “tomorrow is [Rosh] Chodesh”, meaning Erev Rosh Chodesh when the moon is in a state of concealment. First the lofty lights are given, after that the concealment takes place.  (First the lofty lights of the Sichos of 5751-52, as a preparation for the concealment of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz.)

In fact, the Rebbe explains that in the path from coming out of Mitzrayim (in Nissan) to Matan Torah (in Sivan) Erev Rosh Chodesh occurs twice, for the months of Iyar and Sivan. Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan is a giving of power (נתינת כוח)  for the union (נפקדת) that occurs via the giving of the Torah. Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar (when this discourse was originally said) is a נתינת כוח giving of power for ויפקד מושבך — the time of concealment, as described at length above.

Learning the discourse itself will surely help the reader to put all these concepts in their proper place, and understand how the Rebbe (in this discourse and in many of the Sichos of this period) is preparing us for the crucial avoidah that takes place in a situation of concealment — avoidah that brings about a revelation of the unification of the mashpia and the mekabel and an end to that very concealment itself!

Beis Iyar 5751: Lechatchila Arriber

The fundamental aspect of the Rebbe Maharash’s service is expressed in his adage Lechat’chilah aribber, “Right from the outset, you should climb over.” This is the message that should permeate our conduct throughout the entire day, beginning with our service of Torah and mitzvos, which is the essence of our being for “I was only created to serve my Creator,” and extending into every aspect of our conduct. All our efforts must be characterized by the approach of Lechat’chilah aribber.

Each person has the potential to carry out such service, and is aided in these efforts by G‑d Himself. G‑d’s help does not detract from the virtue of a person carrying out the service on his own initiative. Although G‑d offers assistance in every aspect of our service, it is man who carries the responsibility for this service from its beginning until its end.

The approach of Lechat’chilah aribber is particularly relevant this year, a year in which “I will show you wonders” and in particular, in the present days when since the 27th of Nissan, we have experienced two sets of three day periods of holiness and happiness.

This will be enhanced by the Jews uniting together in the service of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This unity will amplify our achievements in the three services of Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness. Similarly, it will prepare us for the ultimate of unity, the ingathering of the Jewish people in the Era of Redemption. Then it will be revealed how “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

This will be brought about by the completion of our service. If anywhere there is a good deed, a good thought, or a good word that has to be completed, it will be completed and — in the spirit of the seven “perfect”2 weeks of the Counting of the Omer — completed in a perfect manner.

Indeed, this perfection will be revealed before the completion of the Counting of the Omer as reflected in the prayer recited after counting each night, “May the Merciful One return to us the service of the Beis HaMikdash speedily….” The intent is that the redemption should come directly after our reciting this prayer.

This will be enhanced by the firm resolutions made by the Jewish people. Their strength and their firmness will be revealed, not only by their continuity over an extended period, but in a manner of Lechat’chilah aribber, i.e., at the very outset, their strength will be seen.3 Furthermore, that strength will be reflected even in the mundane dimensions of our conduct.

To focus on the Rebbe Maharash’s statement at greater length: The Rebbe would say, “Generally, people say, ‘If you can’t crawl under, try to climb over,’ and I say, Lechat’chilah aribber, ‘Right from the outset, you should climb over.’ ” On the surface, it was unnecessary for the Rebbe to mention what others think. By doing so, however, he emphasizes that a Jew is aware of the approach which is generally accepted. Nevertheless, as a Jew, he has a potential to reveal a new approach, Lechat’chilah aribber, and have that approach permeate even the most mundane aspects of our existence.

May this enable us to merit the redemption immediately. In the prayer recited after Counting the Omer, we state how this counting corrects our souls (on all the three levels of nefesh, ruach, and neshamah). Similarly, it spreads “correction” in the world at large, elevating every dimension of existence.

In this manner, the world at large and the Jewish people become ready to receive the revelations that will accompany the future redemption. This is enhanced by the influence of the last months: Adar, a month associated with health and strength and Nissan, a month of miracles of a truly wondrous nature. Similarly, this is amplified by the influence of the present month, Iyar, whose name (אייר) serves as an acronym for the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Rachel who represent the four “legs” of the Heavenly Chariot.

(Here we see a unique connection to Jewish women. For although the fourth leg of the Chariot is also associated with King David, the connection to David is merely an allusion, while the connection to Rachel is explicit. Rachel is representative of the righteous women in whose merit came the redemption, and in whose merit will come the ultimate redemption.)

The above will also be enhanced by the Torah portion which is associated with the present days, Parshas Tazria. This Torah portion which begins, “When a woman conceives and gives birth,” refers to the Jewish people who — in their relationship with G‑d — are described as a woman. They will soon give birth, a metaphor for the coming redemption.

The Talmud also associates the above with Jewish children whom it describes with the verse “Do not touch My anointed (Mishichoi).” This points to a connection between Jewish children and Mashiach.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach when all Jews will be like children studying Torah and G‑d will be our teacher, revealing the “new [dimension of the] Torah which will emerge from Me.”

This will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah4 which will bring near the redemption. Then we will merit the ultimate ingathering of the exiles when G‑d will lead each person by the hand, bringing us back toEretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

FOOTNOTES

1.

As explained on several occasions, what occurs to one particular generation effects the totality of the history of our nation. It affects the previous generations, because this is their continuity, and it affects the coming generations because it sets the tone for their service.

Based on the concept that a father transfers the essence of his being to his children, we can assume that it is not merely the superficial aspects, but rather the essence of each generation which is conveyed.

This concept also relates to the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that G‑d cherishes every Jew like an only child born to a father in his old age.

2.

This perfection results from the fact that the weeks of the Counting of the Omerbegin Saturday night and conclude on Shabbos.

3.

We see a parallel to this concept in the Rebbe Maharash’s position within the Chabad Nesi’im. He was the fourth of the Rebbeim. Thus the first threeRebbeim can be considered as bringing about a chazakah, a threefold sequence associated with strength and permanence, and the Rebbe Maharash and the two Rebbeim who followed him, can be considered as bringing about a second chazakah. The Rebbe Maharash begins that secondchazakah with a strong stance at its very outset, in a manner ofLechat’chilah aribber.

4.

Our Sages state that it is “a tzedakahthat G‑d dispersed the Jews among the nations.” The Hebrew for “dispersed them” pizran, resembles the wordperazos, “open” as in the prophecy, “Jerusalem will be open.” Although there will not be a material wall around the city, the city will be protected, “for I (G‑d) will be a wall of fire around her.”
Translation: Sichos In English

Beis Iyar 5751: Lechatchila Arriber

The fundamental aspect of the Rebbe Maharash’s service is expressed in his adage Lechat’chilah aribber, “Right from the outset, you should climb over.” This is the message that should permeate our conduct throughout the entire day, beginning with our service of Torah and mitzvos, which is the essence of our being for “I was only created to serve my Creator,” and extending into every aspect of our conduct. All our efforts must be characterized by the approach of Lechat’chilah aribber.

Each person has the potential to carry out such service, and is aided in these efforts by G‑d Himself. G‑d’s help does not detract from the virtue of a person carrying out the service on his own initiative. Although G‑d offers assistance in every aspect of our service, it is man who carries the responsibility for this service from its beginning until its end.

The approach of Lechat’chilah aribber is particularly relevant this year, a year in which “I will show you wonders” and in particular, in the present days when since the 27th of Nissan, we have experienced two sets of three day periods of holiness and happiness.

This will be enhanced by the Jews uniting together in the service of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This unity will amplify our achievements in the three services of Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness. Similarly, it will prepare us for the ultimate of unity, the ingathering of the Jewish people in the Era of Redemption. Then it will be revealed how “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

This will be brought about by the completion of our service. If anywhere there is a good deed, a good thought, or a good word that has to be completed, it will be completed and — in the spirit of the seven “perfect”2 weeks of the Counting of the Omer — completed in a perfect manner.

Indeed, this perfection will be revealed before the completion of the Counting of the Omer as reflected in the prayer recited after counting each night, “May the Merciful One return to us the service of the Beis HaMikdash speedily….” The intent is that the redemption should come directly after our reciting this prayer.

This will be enhanced by the firm resolutions made by the Jewish people. Their strength and their firmness will be revealed, not only by their continuity over an extended period, but in a manner of Lechat’chilah aribber, i.e., at the very outset, their strength will be seen.3 Furthermore, that strength will be reflected even in the mundane dimensions of our conduct.

To focus on the Rebbe Maharash’s statement at greater length: The Rebbe would say, “Generally, people say, ‘If you can’t crawl under, try to climb over,’ and I say, Lechat’chilah aribber, ‘Right from the outset, you should climb over.’ ” On the surface, it was unnecessary for the Rebbe to mention what others think. By doing so, however, he emphasizes that a Jew is aware of the approach which is generally accepted. Nevertheless, as a Jew, he has a potential to reveal a new approach, Lechat’chilah aribber, and have that approach permeate even the most mundane aspects of our existence.

May this enable us to merit the redemption immediately. In the prayer recited after Counting the Omer, we state how this counting corrects our souls (on all the three levels of nefesh, ruach, and neshamah). Similarly, it spreads “correction” in the world at large, elevating every dimension of existence.

In this manner, the world at large and the Jewish people become ready to receive the revelations that will accompany the future redemption. This is enhanced by the influence of the last months: Adar, a month associated with health and strength and Nissan, a month of miracles of a truly wondrous nature. Similarly, this is amplified by the influence of the present month, Iyar, whose name (אייר) serves as an acronym for the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Rachel who represent the four “legs” of the Heavenly Chariot.

(Here we see a unique connection to Jewish women. For although the fourth leg of the Chariot is also associated with King David, the connection to David is merely an allusion, while the connection to Rachel is explicit. Rachel is representative of the righteous women in whose merit came the redemption, and in whose merit will come the ultimate redemption.)

The above will also be enhanced by the Torah portion which is associated with the present days, Parshas Tazria. This Torah portion which begins, “When a woman conceives and gives birth,” refers to the Jewish people who — in their relationship with G‑d — are described as a woman. They will soon give birth, a metaphor for the coming redemption.

The Talmud also associates the above with Jewish children whom it describes with the verse “Do not touch My anointed (Mishichoi).” This points to a connection between Jewish children and Mashiach.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach when all Jews will be like children studying Torah and G‑d will be our teacher, revealing the “new [dimension of the] Torah which will emerge from Me.”

This will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah4 which will bring near the redemption. Then we will merit the ultimate ingathering of the exiles when G‑d will lead each person by the hand, bringing us back toEretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

FOOTNOTES

1.

As explained on several occasions, what occurs to one particular generation effects the totality of the history of our nation. It affects the previous generations, because this is their continuity, and it affects the coming generations because it sets the tone for their service.

Based on the concept that a father transfers the essence of his being to his children, we can assume that it is not merely the superficial aspects, but rather the essence of each generation which is conveyed.

This concept also relates to the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that G‑d cherishes every Jew like an only child born to a father in his old age.

2.

This perfection results from the fact that the weeks of the Counting of the Omerbegin Saturday night and conclude on Shabbos.

3.

We see a parallel to this concept in the Rebbe Maharash’s position within the Chabad Nesi’im. He was the fourth of the Rebbeim. Thus the first threeRebbeim can be considered as bringing about a chazakah, a threefold sequence associated with strength and permanence, and the Rebbe Maharash and the two Rebbeim who followed him, can be considered as bringing about a second chazakah. The Rebbe Maharash begins that secondchazakah with a strong stance at its very outset, in a manner ofLechat’chilah aribber.

4.

Our Sages state that it is “a tzedakahthat G‑d dispersed the Jews among the nations.” The Hebrew for “dispersed them” pizran, resembles the wordperazos, “open” as in the prophecy, “Jerusalem will be open.” Although there will not be a material wall around the city, the city will be protected, “for I (G‑d) will be a wall of fire around her.”
Translation: Sichos In English